Heaven needs help with her final vet bills.

Hi, my name is Marijo, and I’m trying to raise money to cover our dog’s vet bills.

On March 2, Chicago’s weather turned cold, and we expected a massive snowstorm. Near sunset, we saw a frightened, half-starved stray terrier on the neighbor’s lawn. We called to her, but she ran away. It took a lot of time and cat treats to coax her in. She was skin and bones and covered in mud and feces. Despite her fears, she had a gentle and loving disposition. I pulled the end of the Christmas turkey from the freezer, and she gobbled it down. As scared as she was, the sweet baby let us bathe and care for her immediately. Somewhere in those first hours, she got the name Heaven because she was heaven-sent and stank to high heaven.

She had a collar but no tags and no chip. There were no flyers for her, and nothing was posted online. Someone had abandoned this sweet girl. The vet estimated her age as about two years old, and judging from her nails, she had been wandering the streets for at least two months. We presume she was someone’s comfort dog for COVID, and they dumped her by a nearby river when she got too big, or they stopped working from home. Our sweetheart loved long walks where she was Miss Popular, greeting the neighborhood dogs. (She also liked jumping into burr patches, leading to hours of grooming and burr removal.) Her favorite possession was her little blue blankie.

Soon, we discovered she came with heartworm. We had started the protocol, and she was scheduled to undergo the adulticide in mid-May. We were prepared to deal with her heartworm.

We were not ready to discover she had aggressive mesothelial cancer.

In mid-April, we attended a funeral in Milwaukee. We noticed Heaven wasn’t jumping on the bed, and she had some soft stools. After that, she deteriorated rapidly. We were at the vet’s office for the diarrhea by the end of the week. He couldn’t see her organs in the x-ray because she was retaining too much fluid. We needed a specialist. We took her to the animal ER, and they drained two liters from her that night. This past Friday, May 5, they went in to do a liver biopsy and found small cancerous nodules everywhere. On her peritoneum. On her intestines. On her liver. Everywhere.

The bills for the diagnostics ran over $16,000. (I thought it was $20K, but a refund came through for the procedures not performed. I will deduct the other funds I raise from the total as we continue.) I know we had Heaven for just a tiny slice of time, but when she got sick, we couldn’t just stop and say no, letting her die. She had adopted us, trusted us, and we kept hoping for a treatable condition. When they found all the tumors, we had to let her go. The doctor said Heaven’s cancer was so aggressive that she wouldn’t last for more than two or four weeks and would have been in pain the whole time.

Now, we’re trying to figure out how to pay the bills we incurred as we worked to save our baby. Even a few dollars will help. Heaven blessed our lives for only two months and three days, but I wouldn’t have traded those days for anything, even to avoid the pain in my heart from her loss.

I'd share more photos, but we had her for so little time, we never got very many. I posted the best of what we have and will post more when I get copies from the few friends she met.
Heaven with her blue blankie:

Smiling after her first grooming.

And my nephew shared a photo he took of her the second day we had her, after her first bath but before we could have her groomed:


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Marijo Readey
Chicago, IL

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